Playable Riku and Kairi not ruled out for Kingdom Hearts III By Erren Van Duine on June 19, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Kingdom Hearts III has always been one of those “guaranteed” titles – yet after several years somehow we still know so little about it. Famitsu magazine had a chance to chat with series director Tetsuya Nomura once again on the game, and his vision for its future.

Kingdom Hearts III is being developed at Square Enix’s Osaka-based studio. Joining Tetsuya Nomura as director and character designer is Tai Yasue as co-director, Rie Nishi as producer and Yoko Shimomura returning to compose the musical score.

As fans of KH are probably aware, Kingdom Hearts III will begin where Dream Drop Distance last left off. “We’re proceeding with the type of worlds we’ll be selecting for the game,” explained Nomura. “This is the final chapter in the Dark Seeker saga that started in the original KH and will feature the final battle against Xehanort.” In the story, Sora goes off to find a “key that returns hearts” and will of course travel to various Disney themed worlds.

The visual style seen in the E3 trailer is the result of a long process of trial and error – the team spent a long time figuring out the direction for KH’s visuals as it stepped into the next generation. “Should we go for a more realistic look like in recent projects, or try something else,” said Nomura. “Along the way, we remembered that these KH characters were originally paintbrush art from Disney productions, a texture that was one of our original aims, and that it was time to return to that. So Takeshi Nozue went through a series of tests, and the results are the visuals that we refer to in the team as the “Kingdom Shader.” It may look like a drastic change, but I see it as a rich evolution of everything we’ve shown you up to now.”

On the game’s actual gameplay concepts, the team has a demo version running on actual hardware with action fairly crazy. “The really bold action we’ve always had is getting even more frantic. KHIII has three person parties, but NPCs and other characters join the fight in each individual world, and the resulting action is really flashy and exciting,” according to Nomura. “The enemy AI is a lot more intricate, too, and I think the gameplay will reflect that new dynamic balance. For example, there’s a foe that’s shaped like a vehicle, and Sora may jump on it and fly around; that’s already implemented.”

Asked if we can play as Riku and Kairi, Nomura said he couldn’t deny the possibility.

It will be a while before Kingdom Hearts III sees its release, Nomura admits. They’ve gone and announced it a bit too early – but don’t worry, he promised it will return to the public eye either at Tokyo Game Show or Disney’s D23 Expo in Japan later this Fall. “The development team of Final Fantasy XV and Kingodm Hearts III have a friendly competition between each other,” explains Nomura. “They’re continually improving their work at this point in development. Even though KHIII is still early in development, it’s already producing some great scenes in Square Enix’s internal meetings. We’re discussing new developments never seen in any KH before, so keep an eye on further updates.”

Via: KH Insider.

  • Kill spree

    I was so looking forward to being able to play someone other than SORA.
    He’s not bad, though..
    Riku better be in it.. as for Kairi, OF COURSE
    We don’t ever see her anymore.

  • Aaron Stark

    even if it is next gen, with all the characters available it will cause a lack of character development unless you’re looking at an excessively long game for a KH game that is. The main number KH games both at 10-20 hours of gameplay in it, depending on how you play the game longer or shorter. That wouldn’t be enough time for major character development. I’m not against multiple playable characters, but it’d be easier for the plot, and might not be convoluted if they stuck as Sora as the main playable character.